Andrew Campanella: I read an article about how your second-graders received an exciting visit from WPEC-Channel 12’s chief meteorologist. Do you have other types of visits or lectures like that throughout the year?
Cassandra Moreland: Yes, we have other types of lectures. The first one this year was when we did a unit on citizenship; the culmination was to bring in the elected officials from our local communities. That’s one way that we get the community involved in the school. We asked the mayor to come in and give a presentation on what his role and responsibility is as mayor. We had our local police officer present on his job in the community as well.
Andrew: Do you think these interactions inspire students to explore what they themselves might want to do for a living?
Cassandra: Most definitely! It also makes the community feel a part of our school. Once they come in and see what we’re doing with the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, individuals in the community take an active role in what’s happening in the school. Sometimes we’re not aware of these benefits of our communities until we open our door to them. Then we can explore what they have to offer. They come in and tell us more about the benefits they have for us.
Andrew: What is the goal of the IB program?
Cassandra: The goal is to teach our kids to be well-rounded, lifelong learners. We want them to be able to adapt and bring skills— academically, socially, and economically— to the communities they are involved in.
Andrew: Can you tell me more about how you encourage kids to be lifelong learners and engaged members of their community?
Cassandra: We have something called morning meetings in the classroom before teachers get started. We also do the same thing after school. Our IB learner profiles and attitudes (confidence, curiosity, empathy, etc.) are highlighted monthly and specifically focus on developing commitment, responsibility, and principles. Because of this, you’ll see kids going around the campus and talking about empathy, for example, and they’re showing empathy and they’re making the right choices.
Andrew: That’s great! How does Pahokee celebrate National School Choice Week each year?
Cassandra: Last year we put on a performance with the scarves, using the dance video that was put out and then adding various things that we did on to that. We’ve had a cultural event before. We’ve also had a Christmas show at our awards ceremony where the kids performed.